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Jack of Fables (DC Comics)

Jack of Fables


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

No one does more, knows more, or gets away with more than… Jack of Fables !


Context

This amalgam of various folkore figures appears in the Fables comic books.

Those unfamiliar with the setting should first read our Fabletown article for context and orientation.


Background

  • Real Name: Jack Horner.
  • Other Aliases (in chronological order): Jack the Giant Killer (many centuries past), Jack of the Tales, Jack B. Nimble, Jack Frost, Jack O’Lantern, Jack Candle aka Smilin’ Jack (in the 1860s-1880s), Jack of the Apes (i.e. Jackanapes, at the end of the 19th century), John Trick the Movie Producer (in 2006), Jack of Hearts (in 2007), The World’s only six-star General (in 2009).
  • Marital Status: Married or widowed multiple times.
  • Known Relatives: Wicked John (“twin brother”), Holly Wagner (wife, deceased), Jack Frost II (son), Prince Charming (father), Mr. Revise (father-in-law), Kevin Thorn (grandfather-in-law), Gary the Pathetic Fallacy (great grandfather-in-law), Snow White (ex-mother-in-law), Rose Red (ex-aunt-in-law), Prose Page (mother, deceased), Hillary Page (half-sister), Priscilla Page (half-sister), Robin Page (half-sister), unnamed nephew.
  • Group Affiliation: Fables.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile, Fabletown, formerly the Homelands.
  • Height: 5’10” Weight: 160 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Blond


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Powers & Abilities

Jack the conman is a smooth talker with a knack for persuasion, bluffing, seduction, lying and taking chances. He has, in fact, memorized hundreds of prepared speeches for various situations from over the centuries. He is extremely long-lived on account of being half Fable and half Literal.

While originally quite quick and slender, his new-found fame has made him a walking bastion of strength and invulnerability (without changing his form in any way). He also regenerates damage at a high rate. Very hot or cold climates do not seem to bother him very much, which is an old leftover ability from his time as Jack Frost.


History

You know Jack

Jack is the personage of most Jacks in various old stories and nursery rhymes. Yet he is in fact not Jack Sprat  and Jack Ketch , who are other individuals.

In different time periods he has been called Jack the Giant Killer, Jack B. Nimble, Jack Frost (no relation), Jack O’lantern (no relation), Jack Candle aka Smilin’ Jack, Jack of the Apes (probably related to Jackanapes, which actually means Jack of Naples), John Trick (ironic given that he has a double named Wicked John) and Jack of Hearts.

Most people, though, refer to him as Jack of the Tales. A lot of his history is known only from his own tales, but half of it may of course be lies. Throughout his own book he has been in exile from Fabletown. His story in a few of the first books is summarized below to give a sense of his adventures:

The Great Escape

Jack escaped from the Homelands to the Mundy world a few hundred years ago. In modern times he became a top movie producer in Hollywood, going under the name of John Trick. He broke every important Fable law and made three major hit movies about his own adventures. This boosted his own powers and abilities from the world’s improved belief in the mythic Jack.


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He was a swashbuckling billionaire for a while until the other Fables caught on and took over the studios completely. This is why Jack had to hit the road again. He was soon captured by agents of the Literal Mr. Revise. Jack was brought to his Golden Bough Retirement Community, where Fables involuntarily go to be forgotten.

After sleeping with Goldilocks (from ’The Story of the Three Bears’ by Robert Southey), another inmate, he was told by Mr. Revise that the Community would be his permanent home.

So naturally Jack immediately planned a breakout along a few other inmates, which the leadership were soon informed about. After nearly dying of a climbing accident, he received unexpected aid from the Literal named the Pathetic Fallacy, who directed him to a group of imprisoned fairies to help him.

Unbeknownst to Jack he had saved these fairies back in the homelands when he had unknowingly and accidentally happened to step on a miniature tormentor of theirs. By employing ingenious distraction tactics a mass escape occurred successfully where many of the Fable inmates gained their freedom.

Jack of Fables as Jack of the Lantern

Jack himself escaped in the company of Goldilocks, Old Sam (aka. Little Black Sambo from the epinymous story by Helen Bannerman) and Humpty Dumpty the Egg Cannon from Colchester (from the English nursery rhyme). Soon, there remained only Jack and Goldilocks, and that led to problems because, well, Goldilocks is a psychopath and was also an undercover informant for Mr. Revise.

Jack overpowered her and made his escape back to the Mundy world again.

Jack Frost, part 1

Joining up with other escapees Pecos Bill (an American Fable based in folklore), John Henry (another American Fable based in folklore) and Alice (from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the looking-glass and what Alice found there and Alice’s adventures under ground by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson aka. Lewis Carroll), Jack told them about the time he was Jack Frost to pass the time.

As Jack had been done with the beanstalks and giant-killing in the Homelands he wandered around trying to con money out of honest folks. He eventually arrived at the ice castle of the very powerful snow queen Lumi (from The Snow Queen by H.C. Andersen; Lumi is Finnish for ’snow‘). Jack started working at the castle but soon set his eyes to replace Waldemar, the man in Lumi’s life.

After insulting the man Jack defeated him in a duel by trickery making him look truly foolish. This resulted in Waldemar loosing his favor in Lumi’s eyes and so he was sent off to a far away land. Meanwhile Jack took over as Lumi’s new favorite.

Jack of Fables as the cowboy Jack Candle

Lumi would regularly alternate palaces and lands with her sisters Kevät ’spring‘, Kesä ’summer‘ and Syksy ’autumn’ (all Finnish words) so that their abilities spread into the newly arrived at lands giving all lands seasons.

However, as the time came for lovely Lumi to move to Kevät’s palace she became terribly ill and was too weak to travel anywhere. Thus she instead appointed Jack as the bringer of winter while giving him her powers. This turned him into Jack Frost, a being with god-like powers.

Jack Frost, part 2

He did not take to his new role and responsibilities well. While he arrived in the lands of Kevät, bringing winter with him, he could not bed a single woman since he was too cold. Moving around through the different lands at break-neck speeds seeking a willing woman he messed up all the seasons in all the lands. This brought great famine and discontent with it.

Once he found a willing woman an army caught up with him. Jack instantly killed them all before moving on. Meanwhile, Lumi found out that she wasn’t sick at all, but pregnant with Jack’s child.

Jack, having no intention of returning his powers, went escaping through the lands for a long time. Lumi’s palace was ransacked by angry mobs while the powerless Queen escaped to another one of her sisters, there giving birth to a son.

Four years later Lumi had grown bitter and cold and her sisters persuaded Jack to return the powers for parlay provided that he left that world forever. Bored of being hunted he did so, having made an enemy of Lumi the now evil Snow Queen, and they dumped him in a world where the Adversary had already invaded.

Once captured he led them to the realm of the sisters for his own freedom, which eventually led to Lumi later allying with the Adversary.

A penniless pauper… no more

Finally back in civilization he could check up his assets only to find that everything he owned, every account in the world, had been seized by Fabletown.

While sitting drinking in a pub Jack was suddenly visited by Gary the Pathetic Fallacy. He had escaped along Wicked John (a sort of naughty copy of Jack), Raven (an Amerindian Fable based in folklore) and Mary Mary (of the English nursery rhyme ’Mary Mary quite contrary‘). However, Gary had soon been ditched by the others as he slowed them down.

Gary saved Jack from getting stuck with a big bill and an angry barkeep with a gun. He played the slot machine with his last penny and persuaded it to pay out big bucks to him. Realizing the potential of this ability, Jack went with Gary to Las Vegas.

After winning a lot of money the pair were thrown out of their third casino. This happened when the casino owner’s daughter Holly Wagner came and recognized Jack as John Trick of Hollywood fame.

After one wild night, he ended up married to her! Her father had a feud with some Belgian gangsters and as both he and Holly died in a car explosion Jack was left with inheriting it all, again turning him into a multi-millionaire.

Jack’s real family history

And so on… Other notable points of importance are that Jack’s real parents were a Literal named Rose Page and the Fable Prince Charming and that he’d been left as an infant in the care of a poor peasant woman. Jack himself had fathered a son named Jack Frost II by Lumi, the Snow Queen, who went on to become a great hero.

It was also shown that early Earth stories had switched his name from Jack to John in a few stories. This resulted in continuity creating a Wicked John character once when Jack was believed dead. It’s unclear exactly which traditional folklore tales were Wicked John’s (a dastardly copy of Jack) and which Jack’s. There seems to have been some overlap between their histories.

Jack of Fables discovering a treasure

As a half-Literal he also has several relatives on Earth, including the Page Sisters all of whom he had bedded before the revelation. His companion Gary the Pathetic Fallacy was shown to actually be his great grandfather-in-law.

His connection with the Literals also draws him into a lot of weird adventures with them. He once saved a lot of Fables and Literals as the world’s first six-star general.

Another time he actually saved the world from Kevin Thorn, a Literal with the power to rewrite or delete anything and everything. While he often gained and lost everything, in the end he viciously guarded a great treasure that he had uncovered, refusing to spend even a single penny of it.

Jack Dragon and the end

Thus, absurdly, Jack eventually turned into a dragon, guarding a dragon’s horde, due to his greed. Jack only had Gary to keep guard and company. After a few decades, all his old enemies, most of the Golden Bough Retirement Home runaways, the Page sisters and his son returned for one grand finale which eventually left everyone, including Jack, dead.

It’s possible that his heroic son Jack Frost II actually survived the ordeal. Jack, who’d sold his soul to several different devils, was seen sneaking away as a soul probably due to be reborn soon again (since he’s the most well-known fable in the world). The devils were left fighting for their prize.

Jack was last seen hitchhiking on the road to continue his adventures. I suggest that the reader Google the rest of his history and details in case of interest!


Jack of hearts

Jack (aptly named Horner) lives for adventure, riches and bedding women. As such, he has made seduction into a great art and game and he has been known to even bed enemies.

He has bedded everything from serving wenches to royalty and without women he grows deeply unhappy. He has been known to even cross the line to other species, such as giants and talking apes during long periods of abstaining. But he will of course later deny that anything happened.

He is exceptionally good at playing the swashbuckling, daring rogue (which he isn’t) and telling grand stories of adventures where he was the ultimate hero (which he isn’t). His great, but misguided, belief in himself is generally found to be a very charming streak.

And as soon as he has had his fun, he begins to tire in a matter of weeks and just has to move on to new adventures (and women). His seduction tactics and philosophy are best illustrated by quotes:

“Do you know how much I love you? I was seriously asking the question because I don’t know. Yesterday I thought I adored you as much as I possibly could. But compared to how much I love you today, the paltry amount I loved you yesterday is just a shameful embarrassment. It’s like I keep finding new, previously untapped reservoirs of love. But I never felt this way about anyone before you. Sure, I’ve been with girls and women before, but never treated them very well. So badly in some cases that I thought I was incapable of actually loving a woman. But now I think I was simply husbanding it, saving it all up for the one true love of my life, for the day when I’d finally meet you. So that’s why I asked. Do YOU know how much I love you? I clearly don’t because every moment of every day I’m surprised to find the amount has increased. It’s all true. I’ve been afraid to say it, because it gives you absolute power over my heart. (Didn’t she even notice how practiced the entire speech was? I’ve been perfecting it on every serving wench and farm girl from home to here)”

Jack of Fables in a general getup, and the Page Sisters, in the snow

The Page sisters.

“I suppose you looked me up wanting some fatherly advice. Well, first things first, son: seldom sleep with whores and never sleep with your sisters. I’ll tell you other important stuff as I think of it. None (sisters) that you know about yet, but that’s the insidious thing. Apparently, sisters can show up out of nowhere. Who knows how many unknown daughters I’ve scattered over the world? Worlds, in fact. How many you already met without knowing it? So, watch out. Ask a few questions before you jump into bed with a hot number. And it’s probably good to try to remember all the women you sleep with, so your own son doesn’t run into the same problem when it’s his turn. Okay, granted, remembering all the women isn’t possible. We’re not super geniuses after all. But do the best you can. And let’s see… what else? Oh yeah, don’t lend money — except to your dad, if he needs it. I think that’s all you need for now.”

“Now, every girl is different, though some are more different than others. With some girls, as much as you may want to deny it, it’s just about sex. With others, it’s about money, or power, or fame. Or how she looks hanging on your arm. But sometimes it’s the girl herself, her essential nature. I don’t know how else to put it. Sometimes it’s just about the girl.”


Description

Jack is slender and in good shape often seen in jeans, sneakers and a t-shirt and he keeps his long hair in a ponytail for extra smoothness. He believes himself to be a dashing blonde bad boy, rogue and leader of men. Sometimes people also do believe the hype. He is actually fairly attractive to many women mostly due to his personality.


Personality

Jack of all trades

Jack has had many names and occupations during his many years of adventuring. He started out as Jack Horner and turned into a giant killer. When he temporarily stole the powers of the Frost Queen he went by the name of Jack Frost, and regarded himself a god whose every action was sacred and divine and beyond accountability.

He was a ruthless Wild West outlaw named Jack Candle with his own gang, all for the fun of it. He was then also called Smilin’ Jack and led Coldstream Angus McKee, the Jasper Kid and Indian Wally. Once he was an undead being named Jack O’Lantern and another time he had jungle adventures in Africa under the guise of Jack of the Apes.

In modern times he has been the world’s only six-star general and a well-known movie producer named John Trick and as Jack of Fables as seen in cinemas!

The life o’ a not-so-lovable Jack

Jack represents the archetype of the loving rogue, but according to many without the loving part. He has a terrible one-track mind regarding two things: getting rich quickly and getting laid. He doesn’t believe in paying for himself and steals at every possible opportunity.

He seems to specialize in half-baked get-rich-quick-schemes and possesses twisted logic and gutter virtues that are pretty reliable resources. He just wanders the world in search of new adventures, women and money. Pathologically self-satisfied, he sometimes comes out on top of things, only to soon again have it all snatched away from him.

Jack of Fable fighting ghoul cops

Jack is superbly adept at presenting himself in the best possible light! And he’s completely irresponsible! In fact, he believes himself to automatically be the star anywhere he goes, and every place has an opportunity for a quick buck.

The prospect of winning will quickly get his attention since life is all but a big game anyway. A game that includes lots of beautiful, innocent and not too bright women to enjoy too, of course! As to Jack himself, he is ironically witty, but not cunning.

He may sometimes be cowardly, but other times his supreme confidence in himself will get him through any situation or people.

Meet the family

His relationships with the other Fables are complicated. Snow White despises him while her sister Rose Red is Jack’s occasional lover and Bigby Wolf (aka the Big Bad Wolf) has messed up his fun so many times that they have a very sore relationship.

Further, he really is bugged out by his copy Wicked John. He gets along greatly, however, with Gary the Pathetic Fallacy (who is in fact his great grandfather-in-law!) and treats him like his sidekick, which Gary doesn’t mind.

The Page sisters all both love and hate him, and no one is comfortable with what they have done before finding out that they are in fact family. He has had no connection at all with his son and would barely recognize him if they met again.

Everybody knows but you and me

Jack has fourth wall awareness. As a result, he sometimes senses that he is actually a character in a story and can therefore directly talk to the readers in a showman fashion. A Player of Jack role-playing such talks to the readers should be awarded extra role-playing points for the feat.

This ability may originate from him actually being half a Literal.


Quotes

(To the readers) “What’s that you say ? Most men would love to be in my situation ? Young, fit, achingly handsome and free to wander as I will, unencumbered by any obligation ? No job, and no family or home or friends to claw, scratch, whine or weasel for their imagined share of my big bag of cash ? Yeah, put it that way and it doesn’t sound so bad. But what if, up until just two days ago, you were much, much better off ?”

“They probably have me confused with someone else, but I’ll take advantage of it.”

“You’re not talking about the readers, are you ? I can’t help their being here. They follow me everywhere. Shameless hero worship. Ignore them. They’re scum. Oh, wait, you can’t see them, can you ? You’re not a Literal like me. But don’t worry, I’m only half Literal. The good part’s all Fable, through and through.”

“Well, sure, but that was when I was trying to chat you into bed. No man can be held accountable for whatever it is he says to coax a filly into immoral congress ! That would be inhuman !”

The Knife-Johns attacking

The Knifejohns are enemies of the Jack of Fables.

“I didn’t set out to be a hero. Heroism, as usual, has been thrust upon me by a cruel and uncaring universe. It’s a heavy burden, but it’s understandable — I’m just that good.”

“I’d had to leave Morocco in a hurry, with a warrant out for my arrest. The fact that the authorities issued the writ only after taking my bribes to keep ’Jack’s Café Americain’ open just added insult to injury. Who knew that Muslims would take offense to a combination brothel and gambling house ?”

“Of course I can, Sammy. I can do everything I think of doing and half the things I don’t think of.”

“… worked out a secret plan between me, Snow, Bigby and now Rose Red is in it, too. The short version is, I’m here to save all of us from the Literals and from this new spooky thing down in Fabletown that has you all pissing in your pantaloons. All you have to do is obey my every command without question.”

“Every time I get rich, someone or something happens to take it all away from me. Or I spend it all on fast cars and fast women and such. Somehow or other I always lose it. But that’s not going to happen this time. This time I will never lose any of my fabulous wealth, as long as I never ever spend a dime of it. Then I’ll always have the same big fortune, as long as no one learns I’ve got it, so please keep quiet about the gold !”

“They (humans) weren’t real people — not Fables ! Look at them ! They’re just worthless mundys ! They don’t count ! They don’t live long enough to count for anything ! And they know it, too ! Look at the way they kill each other ! I saw it in the (American Civil) war ! They don’t care nothing about killing each other by the thousands, all in a single afternoon ! I saw it every day in the war ! Killing mundys ain’t no crime any more than stomping on bugs ! How can it be ?”


DC Universe History

He was also known as a Captain Jack Sparrow in the 18th century DC universe while roaming the High Seas of the Caribbean.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Jack of Fables

Dex: 05 Str: 05 Bod: 07 Motivation: Thrill of Adventure
Int: 05 Wil: 04 Min: 05 Occupation: Fable, Con Artist, Ex-CEO of Nimble Pictures, Ex-Owner of dreamworldz.com
Inf: 05 Aur: 05 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 03
Init: 017 HP: 040

Powers:
Cold Immunity: 01, Damage Capacity: 03, Flame Immunity: 01, Invulnerability: 10, Reality Check: 05, Regeneration: 03

Skills:
Acrobatics (Climbing): 04, Animal Handling (Riding): 04, Charisma (Bull-shitting, Intimidation, Interrogation, Persuasion, Seduction): 06, Medicine (First Aid): 04, Weaponry (Melee, Firearms): 06

Advantages:
Attractive, Iron Nerves (when appropriate to the story), Lightning Reflexes, Luck, Rank (Captain; Confederate States during the Civil War only, Six-Star General in the Army of the Golden Boughs Retirement Village for Fables, temporarily only), Scholar (Cheating, Gambling), Sidekick (Gary the Pathetic Fallacy of the Literals), Near-Immortal (may require a deal with a new devil every hundred years, or not; otherwise he may only have Slowed Aging).

Connections:
Dreamworldz.com (High, defunct), Raven the Native American Fable (Low), The Page Sisters of the Literals (High, or Low only if he has been bad), Rose Red the Fable (Low).

Drawbacks:
Forced Exile (Fabletown & the Homelands), MIA (Getting rich and getting laid), Misc. Drawback (Weirdness Magnet, 25 pts, see the Sidekick Addendum), Secret Identity, Unluck.

Equipment:
Magic Briefcase [BODY 04, Dimension Travel (Storage Tesseract): 15].


Notes

It is assumed that Jack became more resilient and almost immortal due to the fame spread by his three block-buster movies; prior to his time as John Trick (i.e. before the Jack of Fables series started) he likely had the lower stats of a STR of 04 APs, a BODY of 05 or 06 APs and an Invulnerability of 08 APs only.

His total mastery of trickery, bluffing and seduction at times may be represented by the Gift of Gab advantage, although he doesn’t always seem to have it considering many failures (perhaps he’s just then targeting impossible targets).

Other times he seems to have the Socially Inept drawback. Perhaps most of the times Gift of Gab and Socially Inept are canceling each other out except for when they are needed, respectively, in a story.

By Dr. Peter S Piispanen.

Source of Character: Fables and Jack of Fables #-50, DC Vertigo.

Helper(s): Doug Mertaugh, Marcello, Gareth Lewis.

Writeup completed on the 5th of October, 2013.

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